by Ivna Žic
Directed by Tomas Schweigen
Stage design Stephan Weber
Costumes Anne Buffetrille
Music Jacob Suske
Dramaturgy Anna Laner
Premiere: 20th of April 2017
field, plain, like any other, planted, is spreading out, a field confined by other fields. Long ago a lot of people were on
this field, shortly after the World War, just behind the border and were waiting. Waited in order not to be sent back to their
home country. But after the wait came a turn: It did not go forwards but backwards. Many things remained. The field as interspace
– between two countries, two languages, two systems, between war and peace, between two times, one that had not ended yet
and the other that had not started yet.
Despite of decades of tabooing, the field of Bleiburg inscribed itself
deeply into the centre of the collective memory of the people of Yugoslavia. Like hardly any other event in recent European
history the events that took place there in May 1945 have been read, told and retold, rewitten, occupied and politically instrumentalised
in a contradictory way. The starting point is spring 1941 when Hitler ordered the invasion of Yugoslavia. After the surrender
of the army, the country was divided amongst the allies with the exception of Croatia and Bosnia. In Croatia the fascist „Independent
State of Croatia“ was founded, lead by the Ustascha militia and supported by the Nazis. When just before the end of the war
the „Yugoslavian People’s Liberation Army“, commanded by the subsequent socialist head of state Tito, reached Zagreb,
the Croatian army decided to surrender at the beginning of May 1945. Yet they did not want to surrender to the Yugoslavian
army but to the British troups behind the Slovenian-Austrian border. A giant impedimenta of Croatian soldiers and many civilians
who did not want to live under a socialist regime, began to move towards Carinthia until they arrived on the field near Bleiburg.
The conditions of the surrender were to be negotiated but after talks that went on for days the British did not accept and
the waiters had to surrender to the „Ygoslavian People’s Liberation Army“ after all. Forced to retreat to Yugoslavia they
left everything: guns, munition, uniforms, even a type writer, everything remained on the field. Tito’s army scantily shoveled
some soil over the war material and drove the people back to the hinterlands to put them on trial there. What followed is
either withheld or celebrated depending on the perspective, is either called a death march or crusade. Many Croatians lost
their lives on the way and at the same time silence descended on the freshly covered field in the Carinthian border land.
Whilst the memories of the horrors of the Second World War became the most important pillar of a common narrative
of peace, Yugoslavia instrumentalised the surrender of the fascist Ustascha as founding myth of a supra-national multiethnic
state. Yet as national disgrace, Bleiburg represents the crimes of communism in Croatia. Whilst the events on that field were
consciously suppressed in the seemingly harmonious years of Tito-Yugoslavia, Bleiburg returned to the collective and media
awareness after its collapse. It turned into a quasi-religious pilgrimage site of nationalism where till today weapons are
buried in the ground.
The dramatist Ivna Žic uses Bleiburg, the ideational area of conflict, as starting
point for her very personal research on politics of memory. In a time when the danger of nationalism is more and more defining
our political discourse, Žic is aiming less for a documentary examination but rather for questions related to the complex
of Bleiburg that refer to our present time. It is about a metaphorical field of things that can and cannot be said that wants
to be explored. What is the history of things that can be said: In a certain country, in a certain family, in a certain
moment? What can be told? What can be remembered? How does one escape instrumentalisation of history in terms of one’s own
ideological perspective? Who says: You have to make a decision? How irrevocable are the narratives our society is based on
today? How secure is our peace in Europe therefore?
Ivna Žic, born in Zagreb in 1986, grew up in Switzerland,
studied Apllied Theatre Science in Gießen and directing at the Theatre Academy in Hamburg. At „Lange Nacht der Neuen Dramatik“
at Münchner Kammerspiele she was awarded for her debut „Die Vorläufigen“ that was later staged at Theater Konstanz. Followed
by world premieres at Theater Winkelwiese in Zurich, Staatstheater Karlsruhe as well as at Theater Luzern where she was author
in residence in 2012/13. Currently she is working on commissions of theatres in Luzern and Basel.
Pressestimmen „…Theaterproduktion über einen Film über eine Recherche über Bleiburg: BLEI als kluger Teufelskreis
der Geschichte. (…) Sehr berührend.“ FALTER. Stadtzeitung.
„Immer, wenn das „Blei“ in
eine scheinbare Form gefunden hat, wird diese zertrümmert, zerstückelt und ein neuer Ansatz ausprobiert. Nichts ruht sich
gemütlich im Funktionierenden aus.“ APA
„Die junge Autorin Ivna Žic hat sich gemeinsam
mit Hausherr Tomas Schweigen und seinem künstlerischen Team auf Spurensuche in ihrer Familiengeschichte begeben und ist dabei
auf kollektive Gedächtnislücken gestoßen.“ Mottingers Meinung
„…diese Produktion gibt
Stoff zum Nachdenken, weil sie das Zerbrechen jeder Ordnung und Vernunft plastisch illustriert und zeigt, dass die so oft
hell erleuchtete, bestens dokumentierte Historie letztlich rätselhaft bleibt. Kann Vergangenheit überhaupt aus der Zukunft
bewältigt, unser Leben verbessert werden durch Nachdenken? … In „Blei“, diesem Tohuwabohu von Erinnerungsfetzen, Katharsisbrocken
und Sentimentalitätsdeckchen steckt eine ansehnliche Portion Poesie und treffende Medienkritik.“ Die Presse
„Kurzweilig-berührendes Doku-Theater über die Unmöglichkeit von Geschichtsschreibung.“ Wiener Zeitung
„Die Transformierung des Dokumentarischen ins Künstliche der Bühne ist ein kluger und zentraler Punkt
des Abends, da er die Strategien von Gedächtnishütern und die Konstruktion von Erinnerung live nachvollziehbar macht.“ Der
„Solide die Darsteller Vera von Gunten, Sebastian Schindegger, Jacob Suske, Stephan Weber.
Handwerklich gekonnt: Tomas Schweigens Inszenierung.“ Kronenzeitung